Holiday Reading: Free eBooks and Good Blogs

Hello again!

'Tis the season of giving, and hopefully most of you will have a little more time to do some reading, so I thought this would be a good time to share the following links with you.

Free eBooks

In the last few months we've seen a bunch of good free eBooks come out. I'm not sure how this trend started, but I suspect this TechZingLive interview with Jason Cohen might have something to do with it. :)

Here are four eBooks I think you might like, which are all free:

Do you know any other good eBooks along these lines? Don't be shy and post the links in the comments if you do! :)

My favorite non-tech blogs

I follow A LOT of blogs, mostly tech and business stuff. It's all good and useful, but the echo-chamber makes me a bit queasy after a while.

That's when I like to look at these:

  • Letters of Note - these are always entertaining
  • Today and Tomorrow - crazy digital art, designy furniture and artsy animated GIFs (remember those?)
  • Strange Maps - for map nerds like me
  • The Big Picture on A view of our World through gorgeous, always though-provoking pictures
  • Indexed - I just started following this one recently. Very smart stuff, plus I have a soft spot for hand-drawn things ;)
  • Minimal - not at the same level of the ones above, but quick to read

What are your favorite "escape from the technosphere" blogs?

Mariah's Bycicle, 12/19/2009
Have a great holiday break everyone, happy reading!


Listen to this blog

Hi there, just a quick post to let you know that you can now listen to the most popular posts on this blog via the new blog-to-podcast service from the guys at HearABlog.

I like their idea because it's so focused and useful at the same time: they take a blog and have an actor read it aloud, that's it! It's great for accessibility and I have found it a great way to keep up with some of my favorite blogs like A Smart Bear and Seth Godin's blog.

Here's a link:

The link is also at the top of the sidebar on the right, which I cleaned up for the occasion (notice the new "subscribe via email" link as well).

Thanks so much Daniel and Pablo for providing us with this service!


AtlasCamp, Podcast, Linked Mockups, yay!

Hi there. It was a long day yesterday, with Lufthansa reminding me about how bad airplane food can be. :(

It's good to be back in the Bay Area, even for just a few days. It's a strange feeling, I've only been gone 6 months so it still feels like home a bit.

Anyways, AtlasCamp kicked off last night with a big dinner and introductions...the who's who of Atlassian plugin development is here, I have so much to learn!

I wanted to point out two links:

  • I got interviewed by one of my heros Bob Walsh (author of "Micro-ISV, from vision to reality") for his Startup Success podcast, which I had been listening to since they started, I recommend it! (my interview starts at around minute 19 of episode 4). Thanks so much Bob!
  • Michael Hackney just posted a tutorial on how to assemble multiple mockups into an HTML+image map+CSS "runnable" demo. I know many of you are waiting for this feature to be part of Mockups, but in the meantime you can use Michael's files as a template. Check out his sample demo, it's really cool! Thanks Michael!

Ok, time to get ready for a big day of learning!


8 Desktop Applications I couldn't live without

I should really be doing something else right now, but I wanted to get this out.

I think it'd be fair to say that I use "the cloud" and web apps more than anyone I know. Still, there are still some desktop applications that I use all the time, and cannot imagine a future without them.

Here are 8 desktop tools that make my work so much easier:

Interesting enough, I just realized that they all sit happily next to each other on my Mac's menu bar!

Now that is one good looking collection of great software! :)

If you helped create one of those apps in any way, I thank thee.

One of these days I'll also post a list of web apps that I rely on or that I really admire, if people are interested.

Ok, back to work!

MessageFirst website: wow.

I just stumbled upon today.

All I can say is wow. It's been a long time since a website impressed me, so I had to share.

Notice the balanced, clean, readable design. The whole site is on ONE page, just good copy, to the point - no links other than their email address. View the page source for more impressive features: a little script that encodes their email address to fight spambots and a hidden div with what looks like a site-map for search engine optimization.

Very impressive, especially if you compare it with how heavy, slow-loading, over-the-top advertising and portfolio websites usually are.

Chapeaux to MessageFirst!

Preparing for Launch

Doing my homework in preparation for launch:

Btw, I'm not sure about when to have the "launch day" yet, it will be sometimes in the 2nd half of June.

Update: I found some more links on the subject that might be useful:

Starting to look into the startupping blogosphere

This reminds me of when I first looked around for parenting blogs...too much information and hard to tell what's good and what's not.

Anyways, I found this wiki article pretty useful: Startup Checklist

I used "startupping" in the tile because I found this: which seems useful. The OPML feeds are good as well, although there seems to be a lot of mediocre stuff in there.

Anyways, a good starting point.

I also found these good links: - serial startup founder Mark Fletcher (lots to read there, I gotta get back to it) - this one is good for instance
A curious find: - the startup blog of Joe Kraus while he was starting JotSpot (now part of Google). Cool!

Ok I'd better stop looking around...I need sleep

Ten Rules for Web Startups

I just came across this link by the founder of (I'll write more on him someday): ten rules for web startups

It's encouraging to see other people (and successful ones at that) thinking along the same lines as I am. Narrow, Different, Casual, Picky, User-Centric, Self-Centered (bad choice of words IMHO), Greedy, Tiny, Agile, Balanced. All attributes I'm striving for.